tv Role of Muslims in Combating Terrorism CSPAN January 11, 2018 6:57pm-8:01pm EST
effect for several years afterwards. american history tv every weekend on cspan 3. >> the muslim public affairs counsel hosted a relationship recently. policy differences between the obama and trump administration, immigration and the potential impact of president trump's national security strategy. this is about an hour. >> you can start any time in 10 seconds. hello, everyone. i am the media and public affairs director for the muslim
public affairs council. thank you so much for attending our round table, entitled islam versus the west, the lie that keeps on giving. we are grateful to our esteemed panelists for agreeing to speak on this very critical and timely topic. to all of our viewers watching on c-span2 and listening on c-span radio. we would like for this panel to be as interactive as possible so we have cards on the table for our guests here in house to submit questions for the q&a, and we also, for the viewers watching on tv, you can tweet us your questions. before i pass the microphone to our director of policy and advocacy program, and the moderator of today's event, i would like to say a few words. mpac is a national public affairs organization that works to promote and strengthen
pluralism for the american doublet. we do that by working on policies that affect our community. the foreign policy areas we work on are national security and civil liberties, immigration, human security, as well as religious freedom. for our purposes here on this panel, we will be discussing the issue of extremism and how to counter isis. it has been mpac's position for years that a robust position is necessary but at the same time our nation can never be truly secure when the civil liberties of any community are curtailed and without taking a holistic approach to addressing all forms of terrorism. furthermore, federal, state, and local government should never center or condition their engagement with any community through the lens of national security alone. with that said, would like to pass off the mic and officially begin the panel.
>> thank you. so we're here today to talk about the of the debunked yet still widely used myth that the west and islam are imcompatible. we've seen a number all of these announcements with regards to both domestic and international issues. trump recognized the capital of israel after a slump. and and the shift from countering violent extremism that focuses on all forms of viole violent extremism to strictly focusing on islamic extremism, just to name a few. we are also seeing, in my opinion, the implementation of a nationalist agenda. this seems like it is a movement to address 2040, when white
americans will no longer be the majority in america. we need to have serious policy discussions on this, and we need to engage our members in congress on capitol hill. we need to engage the think tank community and we need to engage civil society to really talk about the impact of this agenda on our national security. all of these policy shifts and announcements have happened and are happening at a time when we as a nation are coming to terms with las vegas, what happened in manhattan, southerland springs, texas. these are just some to name a few. this is all happening against the backdrop of a president who uses the power of his digital footprint to bully communities, including american muslim communities almost daily. today, like i mentioned earlier, president trump is going to be announcing his national security strategy. from what we know, his strategy will focus on four areas.
defending the homeland, america prosperity, advancing american influence through peace and strength. one passage of the draft strategy reads "the united states rejects bigotry, a persian, and seeks a future built on our values as one american people, and activity and concerned american citizenry is a fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. for generations our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. no external threat must be allowed to shake the commitment of americans to their values, undermine our system of government, or divide the nation." i think there's a lot to unpackage there in that one passa passage. i want to focus on one thing which takes us back to the theme of today's panel and that is that this president continues to perpetuate the myth that islam and the west are incompatible. and yet, in choosiing to addres
his first audience, he travels all the way to saudi arabia and overlooks talking directly with american muslims here at home. so, how does this lie and the president's contradictions impact muslim communities? we will be focusing on that question and more with our panelists today. i would like to introduce them. to my left, the senior fellow at the brookings institution center for middle east policy and author of "islamic exceptionalism" how the struggle of her islam is reshaping the world." to my far right we have nonresident senior fellow at the brookings institution, former white house appointee and senior diplomat in the obama administration and most recently the u.s. deputy special envoy for israeli-palestinian negotiations. so we would like to start the panel off with a few opening
remarks from all of ouri panelists. we want this to be as engaged in conversation as possible, so we will have time for a question-and-answer later. >> thank you. in the name of god was gracious most merciful. i just want to jump into two points we should all be looking at in terms of looking at the trump administration's national security agenda. the first point is the departure from a long-standing u.s. policy. and that long-stand g u.s. policy was articulated actually on page nine of the 2015 national security strategy under the obama administration and its states and i quote, "we reject the lie that america is at war with islam." and the question to the trump administration is does it continue with that policy
because the vatican the policy are saying exactly the opposite. that the united states is not just at war with violent extremist groups, but it is at war with islam. if we are entering that era, we are in a very dangerous part of our own history and of world history for that matter. so, that is the first thing we should look at not just in terms of the introduction and the press statements of people that may backtrack from what the president himself may tweet, but what is the actual policy. what are the actions? and which way is our country going as it relates to islam or any religion for that matter. the second departure is from another long-standing policy that was first articulated by an ambassador back in the early '90s. he was the former ambassador to syria and israel at that time.
he said that there is a two-track approach in our national security as it relates to terrorism. first is bringing perpetrators to justice. secondly, to deal with the root causes that create the environment to make terrorism more of a reality. to deal with socio-political issues, corruption, war, weak central governance. to deal with authoritarianism. we should look at this new national security strategy on how it relates to all of the above. if it does not address those issues, then what we should expect, unfortunately, is more war, that will cost more american tax dollars and more lives all together, without any real sense for security for our country. it is amazing that is as we see groups like isis have a less capability for terrorist
attacks, in other words they're using trucks now and other primitive methods for violence, that as they lose the technological ability for creating terror, there -- the american public is more hysterical. it should be the opposite. as we reduce the ability of terrorist groups, the american public should feel more secure and if it does not, there is a problem at the top of leadership. that goes to what she said the issues -- we're not having a real conversation about the policies, in terms of discourse. number two, there is a sense that this administration wants to go on the warpath against islam, not just against extremist groups. let me explain that in more detail then. i believe she is right when she said we are witnessing the rise
of white nationalists agenda in u.s. policy. it is a policy based on ideology, be not based on values. and fear that a group of americans are going to lose power and they are calling for travel band and they are implementing for a broad. that does not bode well for our national security. and the reality is religious nationalism is an international problem. while we are witnessing white nationalism in america, we are also witnessing muslim nationalism abroad. we are witnessing jewish religious nationalism in israel. and what is happening then is that the extremists are dictating the direction of our future, not the main stream. and if this administration and
future administrations do not figure out a way to bring back mainstream conversations about religion, as opposed to to nationalism conversations about religion, then i fear that religious nationalism will take a stronger foothold in america, as well as what we are witnessing abroad further more, we are under the threat of eroding american values as it relates to a number of policy issues. the first and foremost is a quality under the law. if we loose equality under the law as we're talking about the rule of law, then people will look at the rule of law as oppression. that is what is happening abroad and this is what we are in danger of entering in our country here. it will be a way to intimidate
and silence and arrest innocent people people will be intimidated and silenced through various means. for example, in the united states, there is something called the anti-bds movement. boycott divestment and sanctions that protest israeli in pal stin ya. because the powers that be have created legislative means of ideas, those who are expressing their right to protest u.s. and israeli policy are going to be intimidated and silenced and arrested if they engage in boycott divestment and sanctions. that's just a small example of what's happening in our country today. then, there are other problems of national security policy that is void of community led initiatives. if we don't have communities
involved in discourse on these issues, we will have more surveillance, more informants, more arrests and people feeling less and less secure. there needs to be a means of having communities involved in these discussions. for example, the state of new york has announced a counterterrorism commission. we have a number of law enforcement involved. but we have no community-based organizations involved. that leads to another point that is troubling and that is the trump administration is killing partnership between law enforcement and communities throughout the country. what we have been working on for the last 20 years is eroding. there's less public trust towards lawmakers. that does not bode well for any serious or effective policy. on any issue that is looking for
the interests of our country. my final point is that if the united states government wants to do away with this notion that america is at war with islam. it started with groups like isis, because they are the ones fighting america and now the united states government is looking to add more fuel to that idea. while isis is defeated on the battlefield, it is looking for other ways that might rise, which is what we have witnessed historically. i want to go back in history. when the afghani people sacrificed one million lives to defeat the soviet union that led to our country, the united states, victory in the cold war, did we show any gratitude? did we say thank you to the
afghani people? no. instead, our intelligence agencies fed al queda to be the line against the soviets, it led to the rise of al queda. and it led to more chaos, civil strife and destruction of their society. when the iraqi people in syria people stood up and it led to the defeat of isis, are we saying thank you to them as an american people? no, we are not. just the simple gestures to say thank you for being on the side of america against these forces that definitely take on more muslim lives than any lives altogether. there are more muslim lives that suffer at the hands of isis and
other violent extremism groups than anyone else. do we say thank you to them? no, instead we tell them there's a travel ban, we want to build walls and we have more anti-muslim rhetoric. this does not bode well for american international interests and american domestic issues. so i leave with that very sobering and unfortunate reality that i see here and on the h horizon. >> can you comment on the rhetoric and the policies that we see coming out of the trump administration and the impact that that has on islamist movements in muslim majority countries and how that impacts the american muslim community. >> sure. first of all i thank you. i thank you to the muslim public affairs council for having me. first thing i want to say is
islam compatible with the west. if you look at various elections in western democracies, the u.s. and jueurope as well, islams ha become the divides. if you look at it, people are debating about 5% of the popular. so it's an interesting question of how a small minority has become such an all-encompassing concern in our democratic context today. and that's why this isn't just about the role of american muslims or muslims in the west. it comes at the heart of what it means to be a democracy and how we live with difference in these societies. and i think if you want proof or we want proof that islam -- i should say, muslims and the west are compatible, because there are different islams and islam is a complex idea and religion.
if we look at american muslims, i think the four of us here are american muslims. that by itself is proof of the compatibility if we look at how american muslims have been well integrated, there has been a sense that you can be both fully muslim and fully american without having to choose. where in europe, i think it's been more complicated where there is attention sometimes between say being french and being muslim and you're sometimes asked to choose one over the other. to be more secular or less religious or less conservative. because we're a country that appreciates the religious expressions in public life and we don't see that as something bad to be fought, you can be christian, muslim or jewish and express that, that has been one of the important aspects of american identity.
now for the first time, at least in recent memory, we have an administration that wants to challenge that basic idea and say you have to choose being american over being muslim. or if muslims express their religion or say anything positive about sharia, islam law or tradition. so if we have prominent politicians asking us to disavow sharia, they wouldn't know how to pray. so we're moving into this dangerous rhetoric that has more in common with europe in the past in terms of racism in the european context. that's not something indig nous to the american experience and muslim experience living here. so that's what i wanted to start
with. when it comes to the foreign policy aspect, isis, as i think was correctly noted, as siisis on the back foot and we have success in fighting isis and limiting its territory, isis will feel more need to show that it's still relevant. so we are going to see more terrorist attacks, unfortunately. we as americans have to do everything we can to limit that and counter that, but it is something that we will have to live with in some form for the foreseeable future. so the idea that terrorists can disappear is not realistic. but that means every time there is a terrorist attack here or in europe, there will be additional threats to american muslims and our democratic thoughts as a country because we will see them using the attacks to target
american muslims and question their americanness. what i'm really worried about is that every time -- every time this happens for the foreseeable future, perhaps for decades to come, american muslims will come under scrutiny. i think it goes beyond that. i think there's this kind of desire to ask american muslims to condemn terrorism every time it happens. and i think -- this is i think maybe -- there might be some disagreements on how to do this in the muslim community, but from my standpoint, groups like mpac should be at the forefront of speaking out and talking about what islam stands for and doesn't stand for and how islam and extremism are not the same are at odds with each other. when it comes to individual muslims this idea that there's an expectation or responsibility for us as individuals to condemn
terrorism every time there's an attack, i think that's problematic. it should go without saying that i'm against terrorism just by virtue of the fact i'm american. no one should have to ask me after a terrorist attack, do you condemn terrorism? they should assume from the get go that i oppose a terrorist attack against innocent civilians as all americans do, right. worried about this idea that individual muslims feel such a responsibility to speak out and that contributes to a sense that there's a collective responsibility. and i think that that actually plays in some ways -- plays into the hands of extremists who want to paint us as a community that should speaking out against terrorism in an endless way. i think also part of the problem here too is it's never enough. people are always asking us to
condemn and we condemn, but there's always an expectation that it should go further and people are never really satisfied. the last thing i'll say and this goes to the question of how we counterextremism and radicalism in the broader muslim word and how we think about the foreign policy element, in trump's speech he talked a lot -- this was the framework of his speech, countering treechlism, fighting extremism, this is something we have to be foe kissed on. i think all of us on principle agree. but if you look at what he talked about there was very little substantively of what we should do in practice to fight extremism beyond just saying it. this is more than just a rhetorical strategy. so in other words, you can't fight extremism just by fighting extremism. you have to go to the environment that gives rise to
extremism and you have to look beyond the narrow phenomena. so that means it can't be a narrow security-minded approach. and salem talked about root causes. that's one way to the look at it. what gives rise to extremism. that's the number one question we have to ask ourselves. i didn't see anything in trump's strategy that gets at the deeper issue. terrorism doesn't fall out of the sky. it comes from a context, right? and if we look at most of the terrorism we've had to deal with in the west, it draws on the civil war that is we saw, and we continue to see, in syria, iraq, and libya and the list goes on. so civil wars in this sense are one of the major drivers of extremism and terrorism. it's no accident that the two countries that isis gained the most ground in were the two countries most riddled by civil
war and conflict, syria and iraq. so if we don't have a longer term strategy to address gof er-nance failure, the fact that states are falling apart, there's no helping the country, the nakt we as americans no longer mention publically the word democracy or political reform, and that's been totally put to the side in how we look at our allies and talk about our vision in the middle east. these elements all get to the broader context in which extremism arises. and if we as americans have nothing to say about that broader context, then it just becomes a rhetorical strategy of saying radical muslims are bad, extremism is bad, we have to fight it, without actually saying anything beyond that. >> thank you, shadi. i'd like to turn it over to you.
how does this myth that continues to be perpetuated, particularly by this administration, impact american muslims and what we're seeing now with the recent announcement of recognizing jerusalem as the capital of israel affect our foreign policy as well. >> sure. thank you for having me. when i look at, when i think of this lens of -- or this issue of counter -- you know of violent extremism, we're here in washington, i actually think back to something that happened 22 years ago. my real first big wakeup call with violent extremism was the oklahoma city bombing in 1995 and i was working a few blocks from the white house, we were all evacuated. and sort of, you know, sent home for the day. and so that was my first wake up call, i was a young man and
shaken and pennsylvania avenue got called off and the u.s. took more security steps. and then five or six years later, 9/11. now today, you know, when i think about violent extremism and safety -- another thing that's changed between 1995 and today is i have three young kids. i think about them and their safety. that's what i think about. i think, as americans, we just -- we need to think about the -- you know, the relative threats to our security and safety. so i think as you look at violent extremism in the united states and how it's affected americans domestically, i think there are two big parts to it. there's white nationalist violent extremism and a component that's muslim violent extremism. i think we can address them both by addressing them equally and
fairly. we as americans are safer when we look at them together and not focus on one and not the other. that's the first thing i wanted to say. the second thing i wanted to say is, you know, when looking at the trump administration, i think, you know, there's this amazing story that goes back half a century. in 1958, there was an african-american handy man named jimmy wilson, who stole $2 in change from a house he was working at, and he was condemned to death in alabama for that -- for that theft, right. and so all of a sudden, the enemy of the united states at that time, the soviet union, seized on that, used this new technology of television and made it a major propaganda issue against the united states in the
cold war in africa. so understanding the importance of that, the president and the secretary of state actually called the governor of alabama and said, i don't know what's going on down there, but first of all, this sentence does not meet normal standards of justice for the united states and second of all, it's damaging u.s. national security. what we saw over the last few months is a president of the united states -- again, to bring it back to alabama, embracing a candidate in alabama, who was outside of the norms of the united states, which then also sort of hand -- instead of fighting against and upholding u.s. values, sort of handed a propaganda victory to america's enemies around the world saying you've got a president who's embracing extreme right wing values in alabama. so i think it's important for us to understand how we deal
domestically affects our standings in the world. it's a little bit about what shadi was saying also. does asking american muslims as individuals to condemn terror make americans safer or make america less safe? you know, i think the assumption, as you said, should be as americans we all condemn these acts -- or hopefully 99.9% of us condemn these acts and we're trying to root out the bad apples that aren't. the fact of asking actually, you know, helps exacerbate the divide that exists. so that -- that's also a real challenge as well. again, does asking american muslims to condemn acts of terror make america less safe or make us more safe? i would argue that it makes us, as a nation, less safe. lastly, on jerusalem, how is
that going to the affect things? it's hard to say, to be honest with you. i think there are some political leaders in muslim majority countries who have bigger fish to fry. on the other hand, the origins go back to an incident that took place in jerusalem. so i think there is an emotional resonance to jerusalem. there's a notion na-jerusalem can be and should be a shared city for all and that unless all feel a stake and all feel recognized with a place in jury room, it's problematic. so one of the big things that i think we're seeing, one of the big fallouts is that on vice president's upcoming trip to the middle east, it's actually the christian minorities in the middle east, in egypt and the
west bank and jerusalem are refusing to meet with the vice president because of the u.s. actions. so again, by not embracing the concept that jerusalem is, can be and should be, a shared city is problematic. >> thank you, hady. there's a lot to unpack. i think we can all agree that our panelists gave us a lot to think about. i want to start off with a couple of questions for our panelists before i open it up to the audience. this is for you hady and salim. you mentioned it is a global impact how we deal with extremism and you both mentioned countering violent extremism as a federal program. can you talk about or can you critique and/or compare the differences between cve under
the obama dprgs and the trump administration? >> the trump administration is anticve. they don't believe in initiatives, countering the narrative. they don't believe in partnership to deal with the problem of violent extremism. theirs is still a top down approach, where government is going to dictate the terms onto communities and use more surveillance, more informants, h heavy-hand heavy-handed law enforcement tactics. the it has to be bottom up, not top down. it's going the communities
building resilience, promoting engagement, talking about hot topic issues, finding ways to deal with mental health problems in our communities done for the community by the community. and obviously the trump administration is far away from that. it's interesting that the draigs and a number trump administrati number of civil rights groups are anticve, the trump administration feels it gives too much civil power, where the civil rights group feels it gives way to intrude on community. so this deserves a deeper and broader conversation. i don't see a future for cve. i think we're back to dealing
with as i said, heavy-handed law enforcement tactics and there's basically no community trust, no public trust. how does that affect the u.s. security strategy? it basically diminishes american influence here and abroad. in other words, in terms of the foreign policy front, the move to take the u.s. embassy to jerusalem, which is occupied territory. the united states is now building on occupied territory. that is why you're getting resistance from christian minorities and the islamic conferences, in fact, the former saudi ambassador to the u.s. wrote that the vice president was not welcome in saudi arabia. basically trump has failed in his promises to the saudi nation. how can a u.s. president ruin a
relationship with saudi arabia when they've told the u.s., we'll give you anything you want. that's what the trump administration has accomplished. this is a new low for our lack of influence in the region. our influence in the region has reached an anemic level. so if that's the object, we're failing on that. as i said, this is now, in terms of domestic -- on the domestic front, i see the partnership is dieing. and that is a serious concern to me and anyone who's following these issues in terms of the development of our communities and our relationship with the government and with law enforcement. >> let me just talk about i think salem covered the domestic stuff, let me talk about international. i was involved in 2001 the drafting of the first policy
countering violent extremism between the state department and said, so to sum up that strategy in a few ideas, you know, we -- basically the thinking was that if we wanted to address violent extremism in the middle east, in particular, we needed to address four key things. so first was social margization, the second was poverty, the third was ungovernored areas, and the fourth was government repression. and that we needed to do that through the vehicles of inclusive economic growth and good governance, we tried to do that in the obama administration. i can't say we were fully successfully, i would say we were not.
however what we've seen, rhetorically, in terms of the trump administration, they are -- they're certainly not focussing on good governance in the middle east. they're not focussing on democracy. and they're not focussing on inclusive economic growth. so in my opinion, the things that the united states could do the most to counter violent extremism in the middle east are to function on good governance, which is a broad thing, democracy, governance basis, corruption on the one hand, and also really focus on inclusive economic growth. so not just looking at, you know, are the rich getting richer, but it's really are the poor getting richer? and then also related to that is not just the actual economic growth but also the feeling of inclusive. to marginalized communities look at things and say things are
going good so i'm going to go along with it. or do they feel margin naliezed. i think unfortunately the trump administration is making us less safe, not more safe, by not focussing on good governance and inclusive economic growth. shad, you may have something to say about these. >> i would like you to respond to that. but i want to throw in another question. you mentioned in your remarks that maybe it's a little unfair gn that the average individual american muslim feels the need to condemn terrorism any time it happens. where does it leaves muslims then? where does it leave the community when an attack happens and the perceptions of average
americans who are not muslim are looking to our community to take on that leadership role, to then say we have a plan but we're here and addressing this as a community? how -- i know there's a lot of tension there, but where does that leave them? >> i think it's really the role of the leaders of the muslim community to play that leadership role. that's where organizations like mpac take the lead and are out there in the media discussing these issues after a terrorist attack and clarify perceptions. what i'm getting at is, so i'm not part of a muslim organization. i'm just an american who happens to be muslim. that's how i see miyself. instead of a muslim who happens to be an american. so for someone to look at me and say just because he was born muslim, that he has a
responsibility that other americans don't have to say something after a terrorist attack, that is an uncomfortable position to be in. however, if individual muslims feel passionate about this and want to speak out in the media and organization and help change perceptions around these issues, more power to them. i just don't think that should be the de facto expectation for every single muslim. there are obviously american muslims who don't identify closely with their muslim identity and to ask them to make a statement about islam and terrorism is a little bit odd. just as we don't expect after people of other races or religions, someone from that group commits an act of violence, we don't ask the entire group or every single member of that group to issue statements. what i try to do after a terrorist attack is analysis as an analyst but i will actually avoid issuing any condemnations on my twitter account.
i avoid doing that as a matter of policy because i don't want people to expect that from me going forward. that's not my role. >> do either of you want to respond to that? where does that leave the community and continues to perpetuate the expectation that the communities have to respond? >> i agree when it comes to national security issues we should allow the specialists. there are a number of groups that specialize in national security. we cannot take national security out of the mind of the average american, people care about their security. and if islam has something to do with their fears and their insecurity, then it's our responsibility to speak to the american public and agree we also have to talk about other forms of violent extremism and
we should have equality under the law. but the reality is, the american public still, by and large, have a fear about islam. and how we're articulating it, how we're analyzing it, how we're going to move forward is not just a policy issue. it's a social issue, a media issue, a cultural issue. that is where the conversation needs to go. it's not just when somebody decides to run over people in manhattan, we have to get out and say we condemn this actor. we're not going to condemn it anymore because we've been condemning it for the last 20 years. if you haven't heard us, it's no use. we're geing to that kind of conversation, it's not helpful as an organization. so we need to address it, in my opinion, from a cultural and social stand point and move away from it just as a policy issue. because that does reinforce the idea that american muslims are
only important in terms of their securitization or people feeling less secure. we want to move away from that. and the same goes in terms of story telling. we want more stories about the muslim doctor and the muslim teacher and the muslim engineer and the muslim policy analysts. in other words these are american who happen to be muslim. we need stories like that out there. this is where i have criticism for our friends not just political opponents. our friends in the media are not allowing this muslim voice to be heard or to be seen. when you turn on the tv and they talk about anything related to islams and muslims, rarely do you see a muslim in the conversation. they're talking about muslims instead of to muslims. that's something else we have to
overcome in our society. >> we have time to open it up to questions from the audience, thank you for those listening live on c span 2 and listening on cspan radio. you can also live tweet questions to us. are there any questions from the audience? >> i know you're based in los angeles, which was one of the pilot cities for obama's cve program. since these changes you talked about you're expecting heavy handed tactics, have you seen anything on the ground since the new administration made the modifications to the program? >> i've seen on the one hand that the partnership in la is still very healthy and strong, because we've worked on it for a number of years. we worked on it for now almost
25 years. so at the local level it's strong. but to get a community group to come into a discussion with law enforcement now on any of these issues, whether it's cve or relations with law enforcement and the policies, nobody wants to come out and talk about it. they're too afraid and they do not trust this government, and by extension, there's less trust of law enforcement. that's in l.a. where i feel it's very strong, as i said, since we've worked on building that trust and partnership for so long. i can't imagine how bad it is in areas where there hasn't been that work for partnership and engagement. and i fear that that is going to result in more bad things, whether it's you're going to see more entrapment type, infiltration of communities,
more surveillance of communities or a more general and a more ominous problem and that is communities feeling more isolated and alienated from the rest of society. where now we are approaching the european structure where muslims are outside the mainstream, as opposed to the american structure whereas american muslims have always felt they are part of the mainstream. in other words they have been integrated and now you're going to see more alienation. that presents a number of problems. put aside national security but a number of problems that are driven by psychological ghettoization of communities. that people don't feel a sense of belonging. that there's going to be more discrimination, harassment, depression, anxiety, identity crisis. so now you're talking about a
whole other set of issues you have to deal with as a community and then later on how to deal with it from a public policy standpoint. >> any other questions from the audience? so i have a follow-up question to that. and both you and hady gave a critique of the federal cve programs that we saw under obama and i guess what we're not seeing under the trump administration. can you talk about the shift from this top down approach -- this cve top down approach into more of a public health model and what that took specifically through your partnership in los angeles and how those programs are being seen at the local level and where it's going at the local and state level now that we're not seeing leadership from the federal government on
this? >> like i said, in short, i think cve is dead. and there was some money that was allocated in the past administration that was being dispersed, we were granted money for that and then the trump administration rescinded the grant. so as you rightly said, hoda, we shifted the lens of looking at the problem from a criminal justice standpoint to a public health standpoint. in other words how do we build healthy communities, infuse services into communities, like mental health, and how do we let mental health experts address issues that i was referring to early. that's the program, to empower communities to handle themselves so they don't have government coming in later to take care of it for them. as i said, that program that we
had called safe spaces, the grant for that was rescinded so it is basically working now at various local levels in terms of trying to get communities to support it, but the community is at such a level that it is still in its infancy in terms of organizational development, we're building, mosques, schools, but not any program yet in the american muslim community. so it is not getting the support, however we're looking for other means to support that. i think in general we want the community to take ownership of the project, like i said, so the government doesn't come in and tell the community how to do it for them. >> so i want -- yes. we have a question in the audience. >> maybe sa lam, we're seeing a rise in hate crimes across the
board in our country, including hey hate and biassed related incidents against the jewish community. i was wondering how you see this rise in fear and hatred against other minorities. >> i guess there's sort of a bigger problem that goes beyond just muslims. and there is a crisis of identity on the national level, what does it mean to be american, what is the american idea that binds us together, and when we lose a sense of that as a nation, it's not just the muslim minority that suffers, but all minorities, whether it's blacks or jews and the lists goes on. and that's yit's no accident this administration has been problematic with not just the muslim community but other communities. and minority communities
generally feel under attack, disrespected and that speaks to a bigger problem that all of us have a role in addressing. there is a demographic shift happening in this country. we can only expect them to intensify so i think we have to be prepared to think in the long term about how we try minimize those tensions as america changed demographically. >> before i respond i want to talk about what the president said recently about immigrants. that somehow america is getting the worst of the world by allowing immigrants to come in. no america has benefits from all the immigrants that have made the country what it is and made it a great country and to deny
syrian refugees is a tragedy and a travesty. so america is actually now isolating itself from european and middle eastern partners. talk about other governments. the united states is now isolated and that then is going to undermine our national security interest because we will not be able to build the colishzs we need on a number of issues if we're not able to participate on other issues so that's the first thing and in terms of hate crimes, of course there's going to be a spike because when you have the top of the government, the federal government being led by somebody that carries a white nationalist agenda and the rhetoric follows suit, then of course our
community will be more rationalized, muslims will suffer and white americans. so white nationalismal is also a threat to white americans. white supremacy is a threat to white americans because they're victims of these problems like everybody else and we're going to have more of a divided society and of course this does not help in terms of dealing with hate crimes, does not help with the minority communities that have worked so hard to be integrated into the largest society and does not serve american domestic or international interests. >> thank you. so we just have a few minutes left and if i could ask all of our speakers to respond to this in closing. going back to today's theme of
islam versus the west as part of what seems to be the national security strategy of this administration. what wr do we go and what does it take for us to effectively rebuild national security policies? >> you want me to start? i was trying to think of something optimistic to say and it's challenging. at the end of the day i don't think trump or the trump administration is the end of the world. america's stronger than that. we'll get through this. i do consider trump to be our legitimately elected president, even though i'm very much opposed to him.
we are a democracy and eelections have consequences. all of us have to find a way to get involved and make sure our local representatives or whoever we elect more closely represent our ideas, values and assprations and that's ultimately what's so great about being in america and the shared american idea is that it's about ideas and not about a notion of whiteness. people can be born american and become american. i draw inspration from that. my father grew up in a small -- was born in a small village in the nile delta in egypt. but he was able to over time through education come to the u.s. and it's a cliche, obviously but in some sense in a very important sense live the american dream and become
american. this is their country and they have a stake in it and they're going to fight for it to become better and that's something we have to remember and draw inspiration from going forward. >> and i want to end on a positive note. with every crisis comes opportunity and it repeats. so there is an opportunity and that is that the mainstream, the majority of religious communities, ethnic communities do not share this nationalist agenda that we're seeing in the world whether we're talking about jewish nationalism, it's not about religion. it's about power. if we want to work for religion, then we have to work for the values and ethics that come from our religions and that is what
we can share together. but we have to break out of our bubbles. we have to break out of our cocoons and engage each other. so i invite the evangelical community to have dialogue with us. there are still many segments have have never met with the muslim in the united states. so we need that dialogue. we need it now. number two for american muslims, it is time to declare our independence from any kind of religious thought from the middle east. we can develop our own american islamic political thoughts as americans. and that is an opportunity for us. it is needed now more than ever. we can use tradition. we can read what's happening over there.
but we need to define our own narrative as muslims. i see that as an opportunity that will alleviate the fears of many of our fellow americans but more importantly present hope for our future generations and young leaders of american muslims. >> thanks for having me. and on the question i believe there are domestic roots for our national security. to me being american is out of many one. and so in a sense we're already healing our nation through the elections in new jersey and so it's that journey of american
democracy that will shape the national security. i've already heard from folks across the world that they kind of woke up, took note in those elections and they recognize that as and in a way rebuke to the president pf's policiepolic. so they're already in domestic response to him. so out of many one, that is the best way forward for our country. domestic harmony and for our own national harmony abroad. so thank you for having me. >> well, thank you so much to are of our panelists, especially for ending on such an optimistic note and that concludes today's event. thank you. >> thank you.